They’re tryin’ to wash us away

The Louisiana flood of 1927 lives on in song (Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” being only the most recent), but seems largely to have been forgotten. As we struggle to deal with the greatest of our natural disasters, now may be the time to recall what was our greatest natural disaster until then. Events of the day bring to mind John Barry’s 1998 book Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. An interview with Barry about the 1927 flood is available here.
UPATE: Chris McVey demurs:

I must take issue with Scott’s characterization of Katrina – “the greatest of our natural disasters.”
Galveston. 1900. Category 4 hurricane. No warning. 8,000 dead. You can look it up.

John Carr adds:

Thank you for mentioning that great book, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, in your blog today. I have thought of that book several times this week as I have watched Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding.
I read that book several years ago and was thoroughly fascinated with the Great Flood of 1927 and how it changed life in Mississippi and Louisiana. I think some of the political finger pointing that is revealed in that book will soon come to the forefront in this event.
One of the unspoken issues in 2005 is that Mr. Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, is not liked by the mainsteam media (MSM) because he is a white, male, Southern accented, Republican governor who was formerly head of the national Republican party and big Bush booster. I think he will be treated very differently by the MSM than the white, female, Cajun accented, Democratic governor of Louisiana.


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